Personnel: Andy LaVerne (piano); Mike Richmond (bass); Billy Hart (drums).
This trio date focuses exclusively on originals by this very underrated pianist, joined by bassist Mike Richmond and drummer Billy Hart. The intense and aptly named "Spiral" features some virtuoso playing by Richmond, as does the racehorse "Tall Boys." LaVerne's playing is especially notable on the dark ballad "Cream Puff" and the two takes of "Straight For Life." The only gripe is the unnecessary addition of a synthesizer to the opening of "Spiral," which was evidently deemed so insignificant that its presence was omitted from the instrumentation listed. ~ Ken Dryden